Qmunity has been working hard during the first half of this year to increase its revenues and reel in its expenses, after ending 2016 with nearly a $127,000 deficit. This was the major take-away from the queer resource centre’s short annual general meeting held June 26, 2017.
During the meeting, which was attended predominantly by current and incoming board members, treasurer Kasey Reese acknowledged the organization’s revenues last year ($891,649) fell short of expectations. With operating expenses factored in, the organization saw a gap of $126,932 between revenue and expenses, though it still ended the year debt-free, with money in the bank.
Last year “overall was a year of significant change and transition for Qmunity, which presented both many challenges and opportunities,” Reese told those in attendance. “The challenges we encountered during 2016 are reflected in our financial performance in which our revenue expectations fell short while our realignment expenses were significant.”
Those “realignment expenses” are related to the departure of several long-serving Qmunity board members and staff members, says Reese, including executive director Dara Parker in March 2016.
Following Parker’s exit from the organization, Catarina Moreno served as interim executive director until Qmunity hired CJ Rowe as Parker’s permanent replacement.
The financial documents provided at the AGM show that the most substantial increase in expenses between 2015 and 2016 was for wages, subcontractors and benefits — a jump of approximately $117,000 from $563,709 in 2015 to $680,400 in 2016.
The organization’s state of flux last year also resulted in the lower overall revenue, according to Reese.
“Because we were going through personnel change-over there was one fundraising event in the summer that actually wasn’t held,” Reese says. “And then the other thing was Stack the Rack was usually held at the beginning of October but because of change in personnel, etcetera, it was held towards the end of November. So the fundraising associated with it was lower than expected.”
Reese says there was also a grant that was not renewed for Qmunity last year.
Qmunity’s grants revenue for 2016 was $576,372 (compared to $592,937 in 2015), and donations and fundraising revenue in 2016 was $161,537 (compared to $195,190 in 2015).
And while a deficit of nearly $127,000 is no small figure, Reese told AGM attendees that the organization expects to turn around its financial situation this year.
“We expect in 2017 we will close this gap and progress our sustainable future program,” he says. “During the first five months of the year we have been able to cut the gap significantly. Excess expenses over revenue as of May was at $45,000. And so that’s the progress here to date.”
In her report, board chair Morgan Camley highlighted some of Qmunity’s achievements.
“We’re changing lives every day,” she said. “In 2016 we provided over 27,000 individuals supports and referrals. This is a 400 percent increase since 2015. We gave out 103 gender-affirming garments to youth through our Bra, Binder, and Breast Forms Exchange program. Our volunteer counsellors offered almost 1400 hours of free queer- and trans-competent counselling, and 316 volunteer hours were spent in the homes of our LGBTQ2S seniors living in isolation.”
No updates on the future Qmunity centre were announced at the AGM.
However, Camley did announce the board’s vice-chair, Simone Longpré, is stepping down.
Among the directors elected to the board was newcomer Heather Northrup, who is the mother of a gender fluid child and a lesbian daughter.
“I hope I’ll be able to bring an experience as a parent,” she says. “I’m excited . . . I really look forward to learning a lot and bringing whatever connections and skills I can to the table.”